Challenge: Appvion Inc., the world’s largest producer of carbonless and thermal papers, has held productive business relationships in the United States and abroad for nearly 100 years. However, when Congress voted to cut off funding for a cross-border pilot trucking program, designed to ensure Mexican trucks would operate safely in the United States, Mexico acted within its right to impose $2.4 billion in retaliatory tariffs on nearly 90 U.S. export products, including carbonless paper.
Approach: Venn Strategies, LLC aligned Appvion with a group of industries and business organizations who were adversely affected by Mexico’s tariffs and formed a new alliance to promote U.S.-based solution to the situation. Venn and Appvion worked collaboratively with other alliance partners to identify appropriate targets and tactics for a comprehensive public affairs approach. Through the coalition, Venn engaged governors, Congress, the Departments of Commerce, State and Transportation and other federal agencies. Additionally, Venn took the case directly to the source — the Government of Mexico, with which the firm has longstanding working relationships.
Simultaneously, Venn helped Appvion communicate to the national press the irony of restricting bilateral trade and export opportunities in a declining economy. Venn scripted the story for local and small-town news outlets, generating a groundswell of attention that led to national stories, including coverage by ABC World News Tonight, the Wall Street Journal and Appvion’s home-state Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Results: The activity of the coalition and media attention has not only succeeded in bringing new government voices to the table to wage resolution, but also prompted the government of Mexico to remove Appvion’s product from its tariff list, saving the company millions of dollars each month.
This successful campaign prompted Appvion’s CEO to deliver high praise: “Venn Strategies is VERY effective and executes beautifully. I’m glad you’re in Appvion’s corner!”